Great Himalayan National Park is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated national parks of India.Himalayan National Park in Himachal Paradesh is an ideal place for nature lovers to peep into the wild world of animals.
Great Himalayan National Park
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Great Himalayan National Park

Location : 60-km From Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Nearest Access : 765-sq-kms
Altitude : 1,300m To 6,100m
Coverage Area : 765-sq-kms

Bear Cub on Tree Branch  in Himalayan National ParkHemmed in on three sides by the towering peaks of the Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh's Great Himalayan National Park is undoubtedly the place to go for a rendezvous with the wildlife of these mountains. Here, amidst dense forests of blue pine and cedar, in high alpine meadows and mountain slopes which remain covered with snow throughout the year, lives one of the densest and most impressive populations of Himalayan wildlife.

Created in 1984, the Great Himalayan National Park (officially known as the Jawaharlal Nehru Great Himalayan National Park) includes, in a wide swathe of land covering 765 sq km, the previously-established Tirthan Sanctuary.

Adjacent to the park are two more important protected areas- the Pin Valley National Park and the Rupi Bhabha Sanctuary- a vast expanse of land sheltering many of the species, both animal and plant, endemic to the Himalayas. The Great Himalayan National Park lies in Seraj Forest Division (in Kullu District), in the upper catchment areas of the Jiwa, Saint and Tertian rivers. A park where the altitude varies from 1,500 Mt to about 6,000 Mt, encompassing within it snowcapped mountains, river valleys, and steep cliffs. The diversity of terrain and altitude is reflected in a corresponding diversity of vegetation. Deciduous broad-leaved forests of oak and bamboo alternate with pine and deodar woods, while grasses and colourful wildflowers crowd alpine meadows in the upper reaches.

The Park consists of the upper catchment areas of the Tertian, Saint, Parvati and Jiwa Nala, flowing East to West and mingling into Beas river. The bewitching scenic beauty of the Park is a complement to its biological richness.

The area supports diverse large mammal and avifaunal communities and is particularly noted for its prolific pheasant populations. Species lists are given by Gaston et al. (1981a). Both rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta and common langur Presbytis entellus are present. Carnivores include Panthera pardus (T) and both Himalayan black bear Selenarctos thibetanus (V) and brown bear Ursus arctos. Himalayan tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus and goral Nemorhaedus goral occur in reasonable numbers, and Indian muntjac Muntiacus muntjak and serow Capricornis sumatraensis in smaller numbers. Himalayan musk deer Moschus chrysogaster has been recorded in Tertian Valley. Bharal Pseudois nayaur is present in good numbers and the presence of ibex Capra ibex remains uncertain. Several other mammals are seen here.

Avifaunal diversity is much higher than elsewhere in the upper Beas Valley. Of the 152 species of birds recorded in the area, 68 are residents and 49 summer visitors. Five species of pheasant are present, namely: western tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus (E), recorded more frequently than elsewhere in the upper Beas; cheer Catreus wallichii (E), with a small population near Bandal; koklass Pucrasia macrolopha and Himalayan monal Lophophorus impejanus, both of which are numerous; and kalij Lophura leucomelana, which is uncommon.

Best time to visit
The Great Himalayan National Park is best visited in early summer or autumn- April to June and September to November are the times when the weather's at its best. Beyond November, and right up to April, heavy snowfall can block roads and trails, besides making it a little too cold for comfort! Rainfall hits the park between July and September, sometimes resulting in landslides and muddy trails.

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